When I was twenty
life offered infinite, though imagined, pleasures.
And, as I delighted in dreams of my future,
I floated upon the bottomless sea of fantasy.
But years passed
and I found my feet set firmly
on its sandy floor,
chin thrust upward,
gasping for breath,
looking into an infinite sky
an infinite void
an infinite nothingness
and I wondered if, when night fell,
sea and sky would become one.
in this glimmering twilight
the sea is shallow
drained of dreams
and I am dry.
Only my toes remain in the well of possibility.
But the sky, still separate from the sea of youth,
I look to it and wonder.
My darkness covered you like a blanket weighted with lead.
But I didn’t know.
I didn’t mean to shroud you
In a moment of clarity, I saw it all
the horror of it all
the confusion of good intentions
and foolish actions
the incapability of a mind full of chaos
to move toward the light.
Instead, I carried the heavy weight
dragging it along
and laying over all I touched
crushing all the good
And what now
if I lift this leaden blanket laden with all my darkness?
The broken remnants of what could have been;
who could have been?
Or is there hope buried beneath the withered remains of possibility?
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Your monsters are slick
like movie villians
-they always get the the cool costumes.
They smoke cigarettes
and lurk in dark alleys.
They hide behind trees in forests.
They creep into your houses
and into your daughters’ dolls
to make their heads spin.
They hide in your basements
and wait in the darkest corners
for you to go downstairs.
when they are ready
they arch their backs and scurry like crabs
up walls and onto ceilings.
But my monster is different.
She crept in between my thighs
after I had a cocktail
and slipped inside, warm and gentle.
She swam through my veins
until she reached my brain
where she curled up
and now the two of us
and wake together
even in the sunlight.
Is this death, this dull ache in my back?
What of these pains that pulse through my body?
This fear that sleeps and wakes with me, is it death
like a crow picking on carrion in the street?
Is she death, this face that greets me in the mirror each morning?
This woman I do not recognize?
This exhaustion, is it death
ringing the bell, waring me that the time for eternal rest is fast approaching?
Perhaps it is death.
I do not like it though.
I prefer to believe it is life.
Life marching on.
Life marching over me.
Perhaps I will grab hold of it
and let it carry me along
through this maelstrom that rages for an eternity
or a moment.
Perhaps, when the winds die and the sea stops churning,
there will be peace
peace in this life
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Worse than criticism is silence.
I put it out there.
I laid myself bare
but all I heard
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Four years ago, I wrote this poem. Four years ago, I let go of the misguided belief that to write about painful family relationships is to be disloyal. Four years ago, I began the process of becoming an artist. Make no mistake-you cannot be an artist if you censor yourself; if you hid your past; if you sacrifice your truth to protect others.
Shadows & Light
Life with you was shadows and light.
On days when there was only light,
there was never only light.
A small step
in either direction
and you would cast your shadow.
Some days it would remain small
It would lurk
and then grow.
It would grow
until it reigned over us.
And tears would rain
longing for light’s return.
If only it was always shadow,
the light would not be missed.
But such was not our fate.
Now that you are gone, it is only shadow-
that haunts my memories
that burdens my conscience
that chases the light.
that never ends